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How to Avoid Survey Site Scams

Updated on April 24, 2012

The Net can be a goldmine for someone who has been around a while and knows what to look for, but on the flipside it can be a minefield for a novice trying to find their way in the work-at-home arena. Survey sites are some of the first things Internet users go for when trying to make money online. Let’s look at some tips to help you avoid those money-sucking scams and uncover the real gems.


Reputation: Firstly, the site you consider joining should be well known, and should have been in business for a number of years. Some companies may be registered with the BBB and this in itself is also a good sign. Avoid companies that are unknown or that have just started up, because the chances of someone shutting down the site overnight and fleeing with your earnings are much higher. Do a whois search to find out information about the site to see how long it’s been registered and so on.

Research: Look for payment proof online, and check user reviews on forums and the like. Be wary of Google searches for user reviews, because black hat marketers often write reviews themselves, or have it written, to post online to lure in unsuspecting Internet users. Join WAH forums to get real feedback on the programs members try and use. That’s one big way to weed out the spammers and biased reviews.

Payments: Also find out how the company pays and how often. Survey sites often have a waiting period before you get your payment, but if the waiting period seems excessive it may be a warning sign.

Warning Signs

These are some of the common warning signs to look out for when choosing which survey sites to sign up with. Recognizing the red flags will help you steer clear of scams.

1. Overly Promotional Sites

If you land up on a page that just makes it look too good to be true, it probably is. Well-known and professional survey sites are not set up to look like a landing page or to sell you a product.

2. Poorly-Designed Sites

If the site looks like it was thrown together in 15 minutes, it most likely was. A reputable survey company would never use a site that isn’t professionally designed.

3. Pay to Sign Up

This is the biggest red flag of all. If a survey site asks you to pay to join the site, or to pay to get access to their list of companies, run in the opposite direction. No legitimate survey site will charge you to join or charge you to get access to company lists. Real survey companies get paid when you take part in surveys, so they get a cut of the profits. Anyone who needs registration fees or other payments is more interested in your money than your survey-taking skills.

4. Steer Clear of Lists

This is another big trap, and I’ve made the mistake of falling for this in the beginning. So, let’s say you land up on a site and they’re telling you how you’ll make hundreds of dollars a day working the sites on their list. To make it even better, the list sells for only $16.95 (or whatever) so it’s such a small investment compared to what you could make, right? Wrong. Those survey company lists contain companies that are free to join for people who know how to research online.

If you’re not US-based, you’re out of luck as well. People who sell lists always tell you that these companies hire worldwide, when in fact most of the companies cater only for US residents. I bought a list while I lived in the UK, and out of 150 companies, I found 3 that covered the UK. The majority of the companies on the list were either out of business, or were just more sites selling lists.

The truth is that if these people were already making the sort of money they promise others, they wouldn’t have to sell a list to make money online. The only way they earn from the Internet is to sell people a list full of useless information that could have been had for free.

There are legitimate sites out there, but the truth is that people tend to earn pennies for each survey they take. The location you’re in also plays a huge role, and in my experience, even sites that cater for International users have very few surveys available for those users, if any. Surveys can be a fun way to earn a few extra dollars here and there, but I’ve yet to find someone who really made it work for a full-time income. Trust your instincts when searching for new work at home opportunities, and if you’re unsure head over to the WAH forum of your choice and ask around. Someone else is sure to have tried the site, and if they had a bad experience you’re sure to hear about it. The same applies to sites that are legitimate and you’ll soon learn which companies pay their users.


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